So, there’s the story told by the events that happen which are reported upon. Then, there’s the story that’s told by the events that happen being connected together into a narrative for consumption. (Often, these first two stories are told hand-in-hand, but occasionally the way one receives event reportage does not involve a whole news article. Rather, it may just involve a headline or a tweet.) That’s not all. There’s also the story that connects the connected story into a higher narrative in the zeitgeist. For example, any story about a sex scandal among politicians is part of the zeitgeist of powerful men who engage in selfish, sexist, or hypocritical behavior. Out from this are angle stories that focus on specific periphery characters to flesh out the scene presented. For instance, the only time most political wives and mistresses are newsworthy is when their husbands are publicly apologizing to them. After all the events happen, or even as they are happening, editorialists will analyze the events from their particular slant. I’m sure I could keep layering on levels of narrative on top of narrative on top of narrative to continue describing all the layers of a “story” as it appears in the “news”.
In all this, a web of media narrative happens, tumbling forward from the mere reporting of events, into the appearance of a whole series of discoveries and compromises, as the weight of story creates more story and adjusts to fit into the network of other stories.
I mention this because it doesn’t just happen in the news.
There’s the narratives of the author’s book, then of the author, then the narratives constructed by the story of the critical reception, the story of what people talk about when they talk about your characters or plot, then of the author’s public appearances, then of the blog, the friends, what your friends say about the book, then the narratives that you feel are influenced by the book or that influence the book, then the narrative of books as they relate to other books in the author’s career. Oh, there’s more. There’s a narrative in every conversation, or pieces of them tumbling through the zeitgeist half-formed, malformed, broken and still spilling into the aether of life whole across space and time.
There are all narratives that influence the interpretation of the book, the author, the place they have in the world of books and the world beyond books.
Every book, every creative act, every act that works for change in the world, creates a spiraling sea of narratives peripherally related to the central one.